Where I’m at: DC until the weekend
What I’m doing: getting back from a dinner with some wise young’uns
Why I’m posting: deep thoughts
Colleen and I were taken out to a fantastic dinner tonight at Ray’s The Steaks, a DC (or Arlington, VA) landmark. The kind folks that made our evening were none other than my uncle Mike, aunt Stephanie, and cousins Taylor, Holly, and John (dedicated readers—shout out to them!). I love my family very much regardless, but there’s so much to love about them. These Lake Woebegone kids are all A-students, great athletes, well-mannered, funny, and adorable (or pretty, as they get older). So much to love!
But the point of this post is not to boast. I bring up my cousins to relay a bit of unexpected wisdom. Over dinner, for some reason, my cousin John (age 8) kept suggesting that if he were to visit us in Congo-Brazzaville (a 20-hr drive into South America, apparently), that he wouldn’t stay- he’d just “touch the ground.” That is to say, John noted that in order to actually visit a country, one need only actually touch the ground, not live there or stay long. It didn’t seem to make much sense at the time, but when his parting remarks to us echoed these, they struck me as deep indeed: “Remember, just touch the ground and go.”
I suppose that’s what being a diplomat (or lost soul…whichever it is that I am) is all about. We’re not supposed to become so immersed in our host countries that we lose touch with America or even want to. We make these places our “homes” only for the length of time needed to advance the interests of America between the wayward soul who precedes us and the one that follows.
So I suppose John was right – whether we’d want him to be or not. We just touch the ground and go.
Who said it: Ben Franklin
Why it’s relevant: America’s first diplomat touched many grounds and left a mark on all
The quote: “If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do things worth writing.”